This morning I woke up to torrential rains. It was so bad that Ashok just crossed her legs and said “I’ll hold it until you get home at lunch.” It rained for two days while I was in Tulsa and for most of my drive back. It seems that the sky keeps pouring water like an endless spigot. The forecast here in Baton Rouge is calling for rain … rain … rain … until next Monday. My yard has water standing in it or worse, is squishy with the wet stuff.
With all of my frustration with the rain, I know that water is good. It is good for the plants. It is good for us as humans. It is good for making sure that the things we use are clean. It only takes a day or two without water to highlight how much I use water. And, lately, I’ve heard a lot of conversation about an impending water shortage.
At a family gathering, I walked in on a conversation around bottled water. Do you know that a lot of bottled water is nothing but city tap water? It’s the same thing we get out of the faucet. It’s just packaged for convenience. Just read the ingredient label to see which bottled water is tap water. And, in some areas, tap water is not that good, so I understand that buying water that tastes better might be a perk. But, it does seems like a waste to manufacture plastic with all its waste and then let a plastic bottle sit forever in a landfill for mere convenience. It is rare that I need to buy bottled water anymore. I carry a sports bottle and refill it whenever I can from the tap. It saves me money, and I hope reduces my consumption of plastic. I use bottled water only when I won’t have access to a tap.
The last part of that conversation the other day was about the drought in California and how water is going to be the problem that crashes the world. I listened a bit, but it was depressing. I remembered vaguely running a race in Austin where the cause was providing a city – or a country- with sustainable drinking water. At the time it seemed like it was in another world and probably in one of those places where people shouldn’t live anyway. But, I ran and donated and helped a good cause. I never really thought about it again until this conversation.
So, today I went to see my Acupuncturist and picked up the Natural Awakenings magazine. There was a story in there about the World Wildlife Fund’s report last year that over 50% of the species in the world have disappeared in the last 40 years due to human encroachment. I found that shocking, and I went to their website. Indeed, this is true. One of the issues that will impact us in the next 15 years – along with other species – is the lack of water. There’s that water topic again. I googled water crisis. There is more than I wanted to know. There’s the problem with growing almonds in California because of our increased consumption of almonds and almond milk. There’s the problem with all of the meat we consume which takes lots more grain that we could ever eat. Our food supply uses so much irrigation that we are quickly depleting water stores. We can’t keep up. And our population is exploding.
The United Nations just released a report that our world’s water supply will be in jeopardy by 2050 if we don’t act. National Geographic posted this article with facts and tips on our dwindling water supply. To make a long story short, they say that the earth has these huge underground aquifers which contain water that could last eons of time. In fact, they have lasted us eons of time. These aquifers could be our kind of ’emergency’ water supply. But, with these droughts that we’re having, and the increased need for water, the aquifers are being drained. Some people blame the almond growers. Others blame the meat-eaters. Others blame people who water their lawns. Everybody has somebody to blame, but the truth is, we are all using it. We are even using it in hidden ways. I cringe when I realize that my washing machine uses about 30 gallons of water to wash my clothes. What could 30 gallons of water mean to someone who had little access to water, and I’m washing it down the drain?
I’m not really an activist. I’m just a person who worries about sweating to death in the summer down here and not having water to drink. I have to say that one of the reasons I question my ability to stay in South Louisiana is because of global warming. What if it continues to get hotter? Can I afford to air condition my home to stay cool? Could I stay comfortable in my old age if it’s even hotter down here? And these articles say the water issue also contributes to and is exacerbated by climate change. When I look around, I get mildly worried at all of these chemical plants puking up smoke into the air. Am I breathing that? What am I breathing? How capable is my body of handling this? When I look down in the woods, I see plastic containers, bottles and trash everywhere. What are we doing to our natural world with all of this trash? I quit buying bottled water because of the trash issue, but now I’m realizing that water – even though it seems like it is falling out of the sky all around me – is a finite resource. I can do without pre-packaged goods. I can do without a lot of things. But, none of us can live without water. It’s a fact. What are we going to do about it? What can I do about it?